Sunday, March 21, 2010

book review - cracked up to be by courtney summers

my two cent(ence)s - well-paced, and well written novel with really great dialogue. enjoyed it immensely until the big "reveal", which left me feeling a bit disappointed after the anticipatory build-up.

i have to begin by saying courtney summers is a really great writer. i think her dialogue is amazing, so realistic, and very witty and smart. and she is super talented at creating characters that seem very real, and not at all like stereotypes. in fact, each of her characters were such unique individuals, just by their voices and dialogue - nothing seemed forced at all with them.

the novel is about a girl, parker, who was once the most popular girl in her private high school. she was the perfection personified and the envy of the entire female student body. for reasons unrevealed to the reader, she has removed herself from the popular crowd to the point of being anti-social. she is rude, disheveled, and in danger of not graduating.
parker is forced to meet with the student counselor regularly and is under the watchful eye of the principal. she's disruptive, having shown up to class drunk before, and is detached from everything she used to care about.

the author uses a device (quite similar to one i'm currently using in my novel) to reveal small bits of information that show us why parker has become the person she is now. the backstory begins to unfold and we see a glimpse of the parker everyone wants so desperately to come back. we learn that parker had a best friend, jessica, who has been missing for quite some time and the reader is lead to believe there might be a connection between this missing girl and parker's newfound personality.
there is a relationship that develops shakily between parker and a transfer student, jake - which is quite realistic for all its starts and stalls. although parker doesn't want to connect with jake, she can't help being drawn in by him.
when jessica's body is recovered, parker begins another downward spiral, but is unwillingly saved by her former friends. we learn jessica went missing the night parker found evan (jessica's boyfriend) and another girl making out at a party. being drunk, parker lashed out at her best friend (who was trying to actually help parker by letting her know it was ok not to be perfect and anal retentive all the time) and revealed this bit of info, causing jessica and evan to fight. parker is in and out of consciousness for the rest of the party, remembering jessica dancing with an unfamiliar guy, fighting again with evan, and then heading into the woods.
this is the part that disappointed me: the reader learns that parker, still in a drunken stupor, wants to fix the relationship between jessica and evan. she goes into the woods to keep jessica from making the mistake of hooking up with the unfamiliar college guy. she fears she is too late when she sees them having sex, but soon realizes jessica is actually being raped. she heads back to the house, presumably to tell someone jessica needs help, but she allows herself to be guided back to the party and she keeps silent about the rape. she never even tells anyone she saw jessica after she disappeared into the woods. even when jessica is missing, parker never revealed anything about that night.

it just doesn't make any sense to me at all that someone who wanted to fix the relationship between her best friend and best friend's boyfriend, wouldn't say a word when she's being raped. she didn't even scream at the guy to stop. everything else about parker's character adds up for me except this.
still, i would recommend this novel because it is so well written.

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